Ford Puma review
The Ford Puma is a stylish, practical compact SUV that’s good to drive, but lacks cabin space
We waited a while for Ford to give us a proper small SUV based on the Fiesta. The EcoSport never really came up to scratch, but the Ford Puma hits the right notes and is now enjoying healthy sales in the UK. Offering an attractive blend of practicality and affordability, it's also good to drive, while equipment levels are strong, too.
The Puma’s looks won’t appeal to everyone, but few rivals can better it for boot-space and virtually none can outshine the Ford from behind the wheel. However, there are more upmarket-feeling and spacious rivals out there for this sort of cash.
About the Ford Puma
Cast your memory back to 1997, and you may remember Ford launched a fun, small, front-wheel-drive coupe based on what was then the fourth-generation Fiesta. It added some badly needed desirability at the compact end of the brand’s British line-up. It was a hit - the Ford Puma had landed.
Now, the Puma name is back, and it’s an extremely similar story save for one very important detail; the new Ford Puma is not a small coupe, but a small five-door SUV. It’s based on the seventh-generation Fiesta supermini (that has now sadly ceased production), sharing its chassis and its engines. There are no plans to axe the Puma, however, and an electric version is even in the pipeline to help it compete in a very crowded sector of the market.
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Chief rivals for the Ford Puma include the Renault Captur, the Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona, while the handsome Mazda CX-30 and spacious Volkswagen T-Cross offer further possibilities for customers considering a small family SUV. Left-field alternatives include cars like the design-led Nissan Juke, chunky Jeep Renegade and the retro Fiat 500 X.
The Puma trim structure is fairly straightforward with four core versions: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and luxury ST-Line Vignale. There's also a Vivid Ruby Edition model offered at the time of writing, while the Puma ST performance model sits at the top of the range. Puma ST buyers can also upgrade to the ST Performance Pack which includes a limited slip differential and a launch control function.
The Titanium trim is very well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights and daytime running lights, body-coloured exterior trim, power-folding heated mirrors, rear parking sensors and selectable drive modes.
ST-Line models include a muscular body-kit, sports suspension, a leather sports steering wheel and alloy pedals, while ST-Line X cars come with stylish 18-inch wheels, privacy glass, a wireless charging pad for your smartphone and a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. The Vignale version ups the luxury count with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and keyless entry, while the ST car features 19-inch alloy wheels, a body styling kit, Ford Performance seats and more power.
The Puma is front-wheel-drive only and buyers are offered three petrol engine options. The EcoBoost 125 employs a 123bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit; using 48-volt mild-hybrid technology it brings a slight increase in torque over the previous non-hybrid model, with marginal reductions in CO2 emissions and gains in fuel economy, too. A second option is another version of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol with the same mild-hybrid system, but power is pushed up to 153bhp.
For the performance enthusiast, the Puma ST is arguably the best-handling small SUV on sale, powered by 197bhp 1.5-litre engine, while a new 168bhp version is also available with an automatic 'box.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the Puma range, with an optional seven-speed automatic transmission. If you want the 153bhp version with an auto 'box, you'll have to specify the top-spec ST-Line Vignale or Vivid Ruby Edition, while the racy ST now includes a new 168bhp auto variant.
For an alternative review of the Ford Puma, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Ford Puma is a stylish, practical compact SUV that’s good to drive, but lacks cabin space
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Puma’s proven 1.0-litre EcoBoost units are a known quantity, but the mild-hybrid system isn’t flawless
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsFord uses proven 1.0-litre petrol engines for the Puma, with mild-hybrid technology helping to improve economy and emissions
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Ford Puma has a familiar cabin design and good levels of standard kit, but overall quality isn't a match for some rivals
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAlthough smaller than most rivals, the Ford Puma remains practical for family use and offers clever storage solutions
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Puma features decent levels of standard safety kit, while reliability should be good, too